Lommel - Monster Energy MXoN
By Geoff Meyer | 25 Sep 2012
The sight for next weekend's Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations, the Lommel circuit is a great rough sand circuit that has had several brilliant moments in the sport. Despite holding Grand Prix's in recent years, the circuit that rests in the middle of Belgium didn't have a big history with the FIM World Motocross Championships, holding just four Grand Prix's in the 1990s.
Those being in 1990 when Pekka Vehkonen won the 250cc Grand Prix, 1993 and 1994 when Marnicq Bervoets and Stefan Everts scored 250cc GP victories and in 1997 when Avo Leok won a 500cc Grand Prix.
One event that does stand out though was the 1981 Motocross of Nations. This event brought the Lommel circuit into Motocross folk law, as Team USA with what many said was a B-Team and very much the underdogs won America their very first Motocross of Nations.
It would start a record 13 years of victory for Team USA, only to be beaten by a Paul Malin led Team Great Britain in 1994.
The deep sand of Lommel will prove difficult hunting grounds for Team USA in 2012. Nowhere in America is there a circuit like Lommel, and while most of the Grand Prix contenders live in Lommel, and ride the circuit on a regular occasions Team USA have just ridden the circuit a couple of times last week.
Looking solid in their preparation for the 2012 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations, Ryan Dungey, Justin Barcia and Blake Baggett will still come into the weekend's event as defending champions and strong favorites, but it's going to be hard work.
Team Belgium with the services of Jeremy Van Horebeek, Ken De Dycker and Clement Desalle also have three strong riders and this is probably Belgium’s last chance to really bring home the victory as Van Horebeek and their other MX2 rider Joel Roelants move to the MX1 class in 2013.
Joel Smets team manager knows what its takes to win the event, having taking victories in 1995, 1997 and 2003. With a strong team and a lot of confidence in front of the home crowd anything is possible in Lommel next weekend.
"It might be our last chance for a while with both Joel and Jeremy aging out of the MX2 class," Smets said. "We have three good riders and we need to produce our best form to beat Team USA. It's always tough racing them because you don't know what to expect. You read about them and see them on videos, but to actually race them, it's a little of the unknown."
Of course other teams like Team Great Britain, Team Germany, Team France and Team Netherlands have a chance to pull off a surprise, but what will count is the fact that the sand of Lommel doesn't suit all the riders in those teams and that could count against some teams.
Photo: Antonio Cairoli - Ray Archer image
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